KIM Rossall – the brave athlete who captured the hearts of the Fylde coast – has died.
Tributes today flooded in for the 21-year-old who yesterday lost her courageous fight with cancer.
Kim became the face of Blackpool’s annual Race For Life after she completed the course last month despite being desperately ill.
Her smile and bravery were an inspiration to those who took part and she proudly carried the Olympic torch when it arrived on the Fylde coast in June.
Kim, from Thornton, had fought Ewings Sarcoma – a rare form of cancer – since she was 18.
Close friend Abby Pridmore, 21, said Kim had always been an inspiration to others.
Abby said: “She was so strong, always smiling. She kept going and was positive.”
Kim was a keen sportswoman and had been a key part of Wyre Netball Club, where she had played with Abby since they were both seven.
The netball team, along with school friends and family members ran the Race for Life – in aid of Cancer Research – for which Kim was ambassador.
Abby added: “There were so many people that came to run in her name.
“There was a big clan of us trying to keep her strong.”
Friends and staff from Cancer
Research hailed Kim a “hero” after she completed the 5k Race for Life.
Jane Bullock, the charity’s UK North West regional spokeswoman, said: “Kim Rossall was an inspirational and extraordinary individual.
“She remained positive and courageous throughout her battle against cancer.
“Kim’s zest for life inspired everyone she met.
“She was an amazing guest of honour at Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Blackpool in July and gave the most motivational of speeches before setting the participants off.
“We are so grateful for all the time and energy Kim dedicated to supporting Cancer Research UK.
“Our heart-felt sympathy goes out to her family at this most difficult of times.”
Abby said Kim’s family who she said had been a great support network for her team and school friends.
She said: “Her mum has been amazing. She has been there every day, helping everyone together.”
Netball team-mate Emma Ward, 23, added: “All my memories are of laughing and smiling and having fun with her. I know how strong she was. She was the biggest inspiration.”
The Netball Club have raised £6,000 for charity over the years.
Friends now say that they would like to carry on fundraising in Kim’s memory.
Emma added: “There’s a lot of stuff she wanted to do that I’d like to try and do for her.”